“It’s time to air the differences, see how big they are and hopefully find the common ground,” said Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), who served in the House for 14 years. “There’s no downside to it. It’s kind of the peak and then things disintegrate afterwards. This will be the moment of unity.”
With Republicans controlling both chambers for the first time in eight years, this week’s retreat in the Sweetest Place on Earth is specifically meant to dampen expectations about what will happen in Republican Washington, according to multiple sources involved in the planning. Both chambers’ leaderships also want to provide lawmakers with a “reality-based outlook” on what McConnell can get through the Senate. For example, the House has moved quickly to approve the Keystone XL pipeline, while the Senate is a week away from even considering amendments to the bill.
“We just need to make sure that our colleagues in the House know that we still are going to have some pretty significant limitations when it comes to moving things with speed,” said Sen. John Thune of South Dakota, a GOP leader who forcefully advocated for the joint retreat. “They can pass stuff and send it over, and they’re frustrated that we can’t take it up and pass it.”